How do farms compete in recruiting the best talent?

More flexibility, perks and better benefits key to keeping your best people.

You want to recruit top talent to your farm, but how do you compete with big corporations? asked agribusinesses with 1 to 30 employees what they consider to be the most effective means of reaching prospective applicants.  The top two methods were:

1) Employee Referrals and Networks

2) Industry Specific Job Boards (such as

Following in a tie for third place were:  temporary staff transfer to permanent status, other referrals and networks, and headhunter/search firms. 

So, once you have the recruit, how do you close the deal?

Agribusinesses tell us the main way they compete against other employers is by offering better benefits.

One of the biggest advantages smaller employers can offer is flexibility- and that can come in many forms.

You may not be able to offer an on-site gym or cafeteria, but you may customize benefits for each individual employee.  Find out what is most important to a prospective employee.  Their wants will depend on their life stage, family, and basic needs. 

You could allow employees to choose which benefit options they prefer to contribute to their total compensation.  For example, if a candidate’s spouse carries insurance for the family, they may choose child-care reimbursement or a different benefit instead. 

Farms can also offer other perks to accommodate and fulfill their employee’s needs.  Employees might not see these perks in a weekly paycheck, but it can play a big part in employee recruitment and satisfaction.  Flexible scheduling, work gear, free meals, and farm produce are examples of a few perks that can be offered to employees.  Farms can also emphasize the family atmosphere with recruits (if applicable). 

When surveyed job seekers, we found that a friendly and amiable work environment was important to 90% of agriculture employees.  Introduce candidates to your other employees during the interview process to create a personal connection.  Remember to think referrals - these employees are also some of your best recruiters!

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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